OSTP

White House Reconstitutes President’s Council of Advisory on Science and Technology

On October 22, the Trump Administration issued an executive order reconstituting the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is comprised of experts from science and technology from outside the government who volunteer to advise the White House; it has not met since the Obama Administration. In addition to reconstituting the council, the President also appointed seven members to PCAST. The members primarily have backgrounds in the private sector: Dario Gill of IBM research, A.N. Sreeram of Dow Chemical, Sharon Hrynkow of Cyclo Therapeutics, H. Fisk Johnson of S.C. Johnson Inc., Catherine Bessant of Bank of America,…

OSTP Committee Releases Roadmap on Stemming the Opioid Crisis

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) Fast Track Action Committee on Health Science and Technology Response to the Opioid Crisis (Opioid FTAC), established in late 2017, has released a roadmap for health research and development to support the Administration’s opioid response. A draft of the report was released for public comment in late 2018. The final report, “Health Research & Development to Stem the Opioid Crisis: A National Roadmap,” identifies knowledge gaps as well as opportunities to improve coordination to better address the opioid epidemic. It covers seven major areas of research, including several with particular…

OSTP Outlines Research Security Priorities

In a September 16 letter to the research community, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Kelvin Droegemeier described several of the office’s priorities and planned activities for protecting the security of the U.S. research enterprise. The letter expresses concern over recent efforts by some foreign powers to “exploit, influence, and undermine our research activities and environments,” and concludes that “United States policies and practices must evolve thoughtfully and appropriately” to guard against such attacks. In particular, the letter notes that talent-recruitment programs sponsored by foreign governments have been at the center of several attempts to exploit U.S. research….

White House Outlines FY 2021 R&D Budget Priorities

On August 30, Acting Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Russell Vought, with Kelvin Droegemeier, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), issued a joint memorandum to federal agency and department heads on “FY 2021 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities.” The memo lays out five key White House priorities as agencies begin working on their budget submissions for the next fiscal year and five “high-priority crosscutting actions” for agencies to maximize success in the science and technology enterprise. This is the first set of R&D priorities released under the…

House Subcommittee Holds OSTP Oversight Hearing; Senate Confirms Nominee for Chief Technology Officer

On July 24, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) held an oversight hearing with the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Kelvin Droegemeier. Members of the Subcommittee questioned Droegemeier on a variety of topics including the White House’s position on the human impacts of climate change, Trump administration priorities in research and development, the recent activities of several OSTP joint committees, ethical concerns such as foreign interference in research and bias in artificial intelligence, and potential partnerships between OSTP and other federal agencies. Drogemeier has been a vocal…

White House Announces Winners of Early Career Awards in Science and Engineering

On July 2, the White House released a list of recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award recognizes scientists and engineers in the early stages of their research careers who show exceptional promise for the future of scientific leadership. Several social scientists were named among the recipients, showcasing expertise in fields such as economics, education, linguistics, public policy, psychology, sociology, and others. The full list of award recipients can be found on the White House website. Back to this issue’s table of contents.

OSTP Requests Information for Research Strategy to End Veteran Suicide

The While House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a request for information (RFI) for the National Research Strategy portion of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End the National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS). PREVENTS was established by executive order in March 2019 and includes a National Research Strategy to advance efforts to improve quality of life and reduce the rate of suicide among veterans. OSTP hopes to better coordinate research within and beyond the Federal government, and enhance cross-disciplinary research into the social, behavioral, and biological determinants of wellness and brain health. The deadline for responses…

White House Announces New Joint Committee on U.S. Research Community

On May 6, the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) announced the formation of a new Joint Committee led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) addressing the issues and burdens facing the U.S. research community. Specific issues the Joint Committee will address are administrative burdens on federally funded research, rigor and integrity in research, inclusive and equitable research settings, and protecting American research assets. The Joint Committee will also engage with the research community for input on policy making. The Joint Committee’s membership will be comprised of OSTP Director Kelvin Droegemeier, National Institutes of Health…

Droegemeier and Dillingham Confirmed in Final Hours of 115th Congress

In the final hours of the 115th Congress on January 2, the Senate confirmed nearly 80 presidential nominations, including Kelvin Droegemeier to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Steven Dillingham to lead the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Droegemeier holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric science, has served on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma, as the university’s vice president for research, and as Vice Chair of the National Science Board. Dr. Dillingham holds a Ph.D. in political science and has served as the Director for the Office of Strategic Information, Research, and Planning for the…

White House Releases STEM Education Strategic Plan

On December 4, the White House released Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, a strategic plan developed with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council Committee on STEM Education. The five-year strategic plan seeks to ensure all Americans have access to quality education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Goals include building a strong foundation of STEM literacy, increasing diversity in STEM, and preparing the STEM workforce of the future. The plan lays out pathways to these goals, including developing strategic STEM partnerships, engaging students…

Kelvin Droegemeier Nominated to Lead OSTP

On August 1, President Trump nominated Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to serve as the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The OSTP director has traditionally, but not always, held the title of Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, otherwise known as the president’s science advisor, but it is not clear if Droegemeier would fill this role as well. Dr. Droegemeier holds a Ph.D. in atmospheric science and has served on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in Norman for 33 years and as the university’s vice president for research since 2009….

OSTP Publishes Report on “Science & Technology Highlights” in the Trump Administration

Earlier this month, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) published a 12-page report detailing the “tremendous” science and technology achievements made during the first year of the Trump Administration. According to the report, OSTP “has built a robust team of over 50 staff members,” although the size of the office is less than 40 percent of what it was under the previous Administration, and the President has yet to nominate an OSTP Director or a science advisor. The report describes accomplishments, such as the awarding of Nobel prizes to National Science Foundation-funded scientists whose research was…

White House Outlines FY 2019 R&D Budget Priorities, Emphasizes Role of Industry

On August 17, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Mick Mulvaney, with Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), issued a joint memorandum to federal agency and department heads on “FY 2019 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities.” The R&D memo, along with an earlier memo released in July that outlines more general budget reforms, keeps with the practices of past administrations to lay out key White House priorities as agencies begin working on their budget submissions for the next fiscal year. Of course, the priorities within…

White House Holds Forum on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing; OSTP Issues Memorandum to Agencies

On September 30, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) hosted a live-webcast forum on citizen science and crowdsourcing. The forum, Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People, recognized that a small portion of Americans are formally trained as “scientists;” however, citizen science and crowdsourcing can “educate, engage, and empower the public to apply their curiosity and talents to a wide range of real-world problems.” Participants in the forum included citizen-science professionals, researchers, and stakeholders from Federal, state, local, and Tribal governments. It also included…

White House Chief Data Scientist Seeks Input

Embracing the use of data to improve government function and its interaction with people, the Obama Administration established the position of Chief Data Scientist (CDS) in February.  DJ Patil joined the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in February as Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist. Patil is credited with helping to coin the term “data scientist.” The former Vice President of Product at RelateIQ, Patil has also held positions at LinkedIn, Greylock Partners, Skype, PayPal, and eBay.  Prior to his stint in the private sector, he worked at the Department of…

White House Issues Annual S&T Guidance for FY 2017 Budget

On July 9, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued their annual joint memorandum to federal agencies outlining “Multi-Agency Science and Technology Priorities for the FY 2017 Budget.” Each year, OMB and OSTP outline specific White House science, technology, and innovation priorities for federal investment, which is meant to inform federal agencies’ development of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget submission to OMB and Congress. Similar to last year’s guidance, the FY 2017 memorandum asks federal agencies to allocate resources to a number of multi-agency research activities, including advanced…

Share Your Basic Research Success Stories

In a June 2 blog post, Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), urged the scientific community to share examples of basic research that has yielded unexpected, yet important insights. Handelsman states, “One of the hallmarks of science is that the path to knowledge is often indirect, and that in addition to rigorous investigation, discovery is often shaped by serendipity, human curiosity, and sometimes even heroism.” Unfortunately, basic science, especially in the area of social science, continues to be attacked by some who fail to see the valuable ties between…

White House Issues Annual S&T Guidance for FY 2016 Budget

On July 18, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued their joint annual memorandum to federal agencies outlining “Science and Technology Priorities for the FY 2016 Budget.” Each year, OMB and OSTP outline specific White House S&T priorities for federal investment, which is meant to inform federal agencies’ development of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget submission to Congress. Similar to past memoranda, the FY 2016 guidance asks federal agencies to allocate resources to a number of multi-agency research activities, including advanced manufacturing, clean energy, earth observations, global climate…

White House Seeks Input on Strategy for American Innovation

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Economic Council (NEC) are seeking input into a forthcoming update of the Strategy for American Innovation (SAI). SAI is intended to guide the Administration’s efforts to promote lasting economic growth and competitiveness via polices that “support transformative American innovation in products, processes, and services and spur new fundamental discoveries that in the long run lead to growing prosperity and rising living standards.” The efforts include policies that promote “critical components of the American innovation ecosystem,” including scientific research and development and the technical workforce, among others. The…

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